Tired Of Unhealthy Dietary Misinformation?

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…well, on the off-chance that you are – just like me! – I’d like to point you in the direction of the extremely talented Dr. Hilary Greenebaum, who’s wonderful website I had the honor of contributing to this week. I had a lot of fun writing this guest post, as it gave me the opportunity to really get stuck into some of the scientific minutiae substantiating a whole-food plant-based lifestyle, and, once again, fully appreciate the comfort that only facts and figures can sometimes provide! We are swamped in nutritive myths peddled by mainstream media on a daily basis, and it’s no wonder we struggle to see the wood for the trees when persistently drowned in dietary fallacies. But enough said here, if you fancy checking it out… just click this link.

A quick word about my good friend over at bettereatingforlife.com, Hilary’s work is just phenomenal. Dedicated to furnishing the – too often overlooked – facts only, she has created a wonderful 11-part video series which educates on the importance of adopting a WFPB diet, in addition to helping you successfully make the transition. Aptly titled “Knowledge is the Key to Good Health,” I couldn’t agree more, so…go get signed up, and open the door to a healthier, happier life, coz it’s way way too short!

To wrap up, I’m interested to know how you feel about mainstream media’s handling, or even mishandling, of nutritional information – would love to hear any thoughts/comments you may have, so stick them in the box below!

Copyright © 2017

Fancy Supporting The Beginning Of “The End of Meat”?

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Today feels good! I just donated to an Indiegogo Campaign that’s aimed to get the movie, “The End Of Meat,” to market. Funds are needed for the post-production effort/final push it seems, and I’m all for it. As of right about now, they are steadily inching towards the €23,500 mark, out of a goal set to €40,000. Yesterday, after I came across a May 11th post on the film’s Facebook page asking for help, they were just over €21,200. That was lunchtime. So, in less than 24 hours after the first check-in, it’s clear the might of social media is not to be underestimated.

Another thing that shouldn’t be underestimated is the growing strength of the plant-based movement. This fundraiser is testament to it, as the rise of veganism appears to be a precise reflection of the increasing levels of compassion felt for our non-human counterparts. It’s inspiring, and reminds me of a brilliant 2006 talk given by evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, on the shifting moral zeitgeist. Discussing, in general terms, the historical trend that is “the steadily shifting standard of what’s morally acceptable…[that moves] in parallel, on a broad front, throughout the world,” this phenomenon indicates that advances in animal rights will, thankfully, continue to progress (YouTube).

FullSizeRender (13)And, as regards such positive developments in this arena, Dawkins, in this fresh UK Times article, provides more specific comfort on the matter. Sharing his belief that “the 21st century’s “speciesism” [will] one day be viewed in the same way we [now] view the 20th century’s racism,” I’m confident we’re truly, finally, headed in the right direction (thetimes.co.uk). But this current momentum has to maintain a pulse, and by giving to endeavors like “The End Of Meat,” we can rest assured this effort to keep its March 2018 release date on track is something worthwhile, and actually life-changing. We all know by now the precious impact these kinds of documentaries have had in recent years – think, for example, Forks Over Knives, Plant Pure Nation, Cowspiracy etc. They have been runaway successes on Netflix, with the education provided therein motivating millions to adopt an environmentally sound, legitimately salubrious, lifestyle. The way I see it, it’s really a case of…the more the merrier! So, the more opportunity there is to expose more people to the resounding “evidence [concerning] meat consumption’s negative impact on the planet and on human health,” the happier, in the long run, we all will be (theendofmeat.com).

Therefore, in the spirit of promoting these efforts effectively, the filmmakers have not made this campaign just about the financials. If you can’t afford to give, that’s ok, they simply ask that you consider spreading the word on your social media platform of choice. It’s a brilliant request, through which the certain growth of community will, in turn, spark even bigger, more meaningful conversations, that will ultimately bring the end of meat nearer the horizon. It’s already within sight, now let’s ensure this ethical evolution stays right on cue!

Copyright © 2017

Note: Image is courtesy of “The End Of Meat” website (theendofmeat.com).

Bobbing Along In A Sea Of Nutritional Confusion: Why Are We So Comfortable With Food’s Infinite Gray Areas?

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Been a couple weeks since I checked in, but my absence can be somewhat explained by the above photograph taken at Hook Head Lighthouse in Co. Wexford just a few days ago. The goal was to keep my blog schedule on track while on holidays, but even with the best of intentions, it fell by the wayside. I was, however, keeping the old Instagram feed going – being a nice diversion when family conversations started to run dry! I had actually posted this picture shortly after we got home from the coast, and as we sat down to dinner that evening I realized the image couldn’t be more apt for this next installment.

I knew going home was going to be tough, from a food perspective that is. Not only had I to explain my whole-food plant-based leanings, I had to hope that my parents would be accepting enough to let me practice them. Now, while they had been forewarned, I think the reality was a little unsettling for them at first. But, I’m happy to say, after a couple of days, and good dose of sarcasm about my ability to maintain a pulse sans animal protein, they were actually very good about it. So, no fuss with my new dietary inclusions/exclusions at all, and totally fine with me making the necessary adjustments to my plate at mealtimes.

Happy days, you may say! But while the war I thought I’d be waging ended up being no battle at all, an unexpected struggle – and I think I was fated to be at home while this happened – instead reared its ugly head. Not wanting to impose my herbivorous lifestyle on the folks the first few days of the visit, I said nothing while the typical/traditional Irish diet they were enjoying was dished up before me. And, I can tell you, that after a while, it was unbelievably difficult to sit there and watch the veggies play second fiddle to whatever meat was on the menu that night – even if it was in the interests of having a conflict-free vacation!

But then a letter arrived about half-way through, and with the results of recent blood-work revealing my dad’s LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol being at 210 mg/dl, I knew it was time to stake a claim on no man’s land. Just for context here, 190 mg/dl is considered “very high” according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Although being informed that he was absolutely in line for a heart attack, stroke, or worse was beyond shocking, I think the most disturbing part of this communication was the laxity of its delivery. Simply told to check back in 3 months time, whereupon repeat tests would be carried out, the doctor was confident that with the help of the accompanying leaflet on how to amend diet and lifestyle accordingly, my dad’s cholesterol would lower considerably.  No argument there, but as this life-saving pamphlet wasn’t actually included with the mail, the report by itself, in being meaningless to its retiree recipients, was promptly shelved.

Until, (thank God!), I found it. And, then I knew it was time to unleash everything I had learned from The China Study, and through eCornell’s Plant-Based Nutrition course. The first conversation fell on deaf ears, the reason being, that as the doctor hadn’t followed up with a phonecall, they were of the opinion that the issue was not grave enough for them to be in any way concerned. It was infuriating, but on went the dialogue, and together with some intense Googling, they eventually accepted they had a situation that they not only needed to be worried about, but immediately address. And this is where the fun, quite literally, started. Oh yes – and in having seen their initial attempts to transition to a whole-food plant-based existence, the report’s disappearance began to make much more sense!

So, no, they may not have understood its technicalities, but on some level, I think they were cognizant of the practical changes that were going to have to be made. My mother’s a good cook, but not adventurous. My dad likes the basics, and therefore, you have a culinary prescription designed to stand the test of time – which it definitely has (42 years to be exact!). And, with that in mind, you can see why denial set in when told that it would be best advised to drop all meat and dairy, together with the extensive miscellany of processed foods stuffed into the kitchen cupboards. Life, in their eyes, was now going to be hell. But in trying to convince them otherwise, I came up with a simple plan – a list of all their favorite foods (minus the contraband), and what to do/how to easily prepare them. I also told them to keep a simple food diary, and to return to the doctor with it in about 4 weeks time, making a point to follow up with him, as opposed to being followed up with when it might be too late, and the unimaginable had already happened.

Here’s hoping they’ll implement last change. I gave them the tools, including a copy of The China Study, now it’s in their hands. If anything, it’s a lesson in how we end up in such murky waters, with the fear of change, the unknown, keeping us forever floating in life’s cosy gray areas. Now this is fine, until the time comes when you’re presented with a potential life/death scenario such as this, and you somehow know, that the glaring black and white of a situation is really your best guide, your only guide. And then you’re left with no option but to just follow the facts – which in this case, was/is to ditch the meat and be done with it. As human beings, we will doubtless falter from time to time in this quest – certainly, no one’s perfect. Testament to this was our first family effort in having the full-on whole-food plant-based experience on my last day together with them.

We were right on cue all day, with breakfast and lunch running smoothly, until dinner, when a planned rice and veggie stir-fry was mysteriously replaced with a couple of bags of french fries from our local chipper while I was busy packing. Insisting they were adhering to WFPB standards by going the potato route only (usually a burger and some battered sausages would be in tow), I let them off the hook, but at the same time leaving them under no illusion that this was suitable fare! There was discomfort, for sure, now that the chipper was firmly out of the equation as a take-out option. But I’d take that uneasiness any day of the week, if only to eliminate the convenient confusion that lies there in lieu. At the end of the day, no one ever really benefits when heads remain treacherously stuck in the sand. I’ll keep you posted on those LDL numbers!

Copyright © 2017